the first half-minute of Signs Of Life and it works beautifully. No one treads on anyone else’s toes. It’s a neat illustration of where The Herd is now: different people with different visions joining together to create a singular sound. A delight. James d’Apice
FACT FILE Length: 12 tracks, 54 minutes.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
War Of Currents When one thinks of the luscious and detailed soundscapes that entail the genre of instrumental postrock, one doesn’t usually associate such grand musical designs and wall-of-sound climaxes with a three-piece, and yet here stands Meniscus. This multi-layered and staggeringly moving selection of songs will never fail to shift you into a more serene state of mind, leading the listener through M.C. Escher-inspired corridors of steady beats and ear-bending guitar loops. One of the most important things to note about War Of Currents is its loyalty to the band’s live capabilities. Meniscus performs everything you hear on this album in real time on stage, and it’s a pleasure to hear this translated into the studio recording. The drums and bass are large and powerful without being over-processed, allowing them to sound as if they are being played for the listener in his or her own home. The guitars swirl in deep pools of reverb and delay, loops interlocking to create songs that suck you in and spit you out at the end, feeling refreshed as if having taken a step through a waterfall. It’s great to see such forward-thinking musicians exist, let alone in our own hometown of Sydney. To believe that just three musicians could produce such depth and layered precision is difficult without seeing them do it for you live. So the smart thing to do would be to find out when they are playing near you, witness them yourself and pick up a copy of this local post-rock gem. It’ll be worth it.
Moods: Boisterous, synergistic and street-smart.
I’m With You
DID YOU KNOW
It’s been over five years since the last Chilis disc, Stadium Arcadium, and as the band approaches its 30-year anniversary (craziness, it’s true), they have again enlisted Rick Rubin on production duties (he got a Grammy for his last Chilis effort, so not a bad bet). The new disc features new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, and it’s a mixture of the familiar sounds in sometimes unusual combinations. Single, Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie, features some fabulously nonsensical lyrics - “Rock like the ‘80s/cock blocking isn’t allowed” - as well as a distinctly Australian ‘80s sound with a rhythm track that evokes the ghost of INXS when they rocked (Need You Tonight especially). Similarly, Police Station features a military-style beat and off-centre chaotic approach that evokes the ghost of Silverchair’s If You Keep Losing Sleep, and then just to really make things strange, add some trumpet on Did I Let You Know. There are also some older-style Chilis tracks here for the devotees, most obviously the bass-driven Annie Wants A Baby and Goodbye Hooray; however, overall the disc sounds older, with a general lack of pace compared to earlier offerings. Trainspotters should keep an ear out for Money Mark on Look Around, and there’s a genuinely sweet pit stop towards the end with Meet Me At The Corner. However, be warned about the final track, Dance, Dance, Dance, which has a strange salsa feel that reminds me of JPY’s Love Is In The Air so much that it’s scary – if it’s meant to be funny, then great; if not, well, yeah.
Future Shade Elefant Traks
There’s a saying that goes, “a camel is a horse designed by committee”. It’s misleading. Although the power of an auteur’s vision is occasionally undeniable, considered input from experienced colleagues will improve almost any idea. No rapper is an island, after all. This impulse is what has driven The Herd for the past decade plus. In their separate component parts they are talented and successful musicians. When combined they strive for synergy; to be a whole greater than their sum. At their best they succeed brilliantly and occupy that rare space of being all things to all people. At their worst they are too democratic and a song that could have been great is blurred a bit by everyone getting their “go”. This compromise sometimes means that just as my favourite Herd member is getting going, your favourite Herd member steps in and interrupts. That risk is well managed on Future Shade, though. This is considered, well-balanced stuff.
• 2011 marks a decade since the formation of The Herd, and the band played its first live shows in two years in April to celebrate the occasion. • Emulating the marketing ploys of bands like Radiohead, when The Herd released The Sum Of It All, the first single from Future Shade, they did so with a ‘pay what you want’ model. As member Traksewt revealed to thevine.com.au., in the first few days the single was purchased hundreds of times, with fans paying up to $50 for the song to support the group. • Outside of The Herd, members of the group have enjoyed successful solo careers – Urthboy has released three albums under his own name, which slightly deviate from The Herd’s straight hip hop, and Ozi Batla released his debut solo album, Wild Colonial, last year, spawning the successful single, Put It On Wax.
Spin Cycle is about exactly what you think it’s about. So is Salary Cap. But both are more interesting, exciting and nuanced than “politicians are bad” or “the glass ceiling exists”. Red Queen Theory is a massive, rumbling banger. You haven’t heard a Herd track like it. Shihaba is a joy. Market Forces with a hook sung (!) in Spanish (!) by Ozi Batla (!) is another revelation. Future Shade is more synergy than compromise. We hear from Ozi Batla, Jane Tyrrell and Urthboy within
Chris de Peau
SE SECOND RELEA
TUMBALONG 01 Tickets on Sale: Tuesday 26th July. First Release: $79 inc. BF. Second Release: $89 inc. BF. VIP: $175 inc. BF. www.moshtix.com.au. www.musicaevents.com twitter.com/drummedia
THE DRUM MEDIA 23 AUGUST 2011 • 43 •
Published on Aug 22, 2011
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